Super-excited about today’s guest! (Do I over-use that opening line??) I met Betsy and her dreamy little fam this summer at Camp Mission Meadows. I was speaking about pursuing our passions (God’s passions!), and Betsy shared some of hers with me, and WOW. So inspiring!
And since then, I’ve eaten her delicious granola (YUM!) and look forward to seeing her again in person someday. Let’s meet Betsy!
Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your adorable family.
Betsy: I am 32-year-old wife, mother, daughter who delights in the joys of family life. I live and teach high school English in my hometown, relish the quiet and chaotic moments of rearing three children under five, and often feel like the luckiest girl in the world, who married her camp crush from twenty years ago. I once was a Medieval and Renaissance scholar, a cowboy bar bartender, a children’s clothing store manager, an eager hiker, who ventured a thirty-day trek on the Appalachian Trail, and recently, survived a zombie apocalypse for an eventful 5k run.
While life as a responsible, working-mom doesn’t seem to lend itself to much risk- seeking, lately I’ve been convicted to hand over my visionary spirit to God and witness how He can match it with His heart for His people.
My husband, Jay, is ”awesome,” at least according to my daughter. He has a passion for worship and youth ministry and works for our church. Mathis, our oldest, just started kindergarten, is interested in all things creepy crawly, and recently admitted, “playing outside is way more fun than the Wii.” Charlotte, our three year old, has the spunk and outgoing nature that helps her to hold her own in our boy-dominated neighborhood. She cares for a number of imaginary friends, and captures the hearts of every elderly person we see in the grocery store. She also has really great hair, which helps. Asher, my mama’s boy, is just six months old and looks a bit like Elmer Fudd. He’s sitting up, eating all that’s pureed, and happily learning the ropes from his doting older siblings.
Me: And about New Day Granola’s humble beginnings.
Betsy: This all started with my family’s b & b, Plumbush Bed and Breakfast in western NY. To help Plumbush guests enjoy decadent homemade breakfasts, my mom delegated me “the granola girl” for her weekly supply. With a little research, a bunch of batches, and the approval of the inn’s taste testers, I came up with three varieties, decided on a color scheme and brand, enlisted a few good friends who could help promote it, and bagged this stuff up.
My best friend, the talented Sarah Ondrey Johnson, has an up and coming web design business and etsy site, and was eager to spread the word about this project. Rebecca Ondrey, takes stunning pictures and generously donated her time and creative edge to help capture the product’s healthy ingredients and inspired blend with a photoshoot of Charlotte and me.
From there, this humble project has evolved into a step-by-step journey. I’ve entered the etsy marketplace and hope to have a charming website within a couple of weeks. I’ve figured out how to bake, package, ship, charge, post, and share this product. I’m selling roadside during the summer months, and hope to expand to festivals and farmer’s markets. I’m trying not to approach this project as a high-pressured job; rather, this is a product with potential with its roots in ministry. I’ve brainstormed some new combinations: a local blueberry blend and a holiday mix with citrus, cranberry, and nutmeg. There’s so much to play with in this granola game and part of the creative experience is coming up with flavors that have wide-spread appeal, but originality outside of the store-bought box. I’m also working on a “no-nut” granola for my nut-allergy friends.
Me: Part of your proceeds go to a pretty cool ministry. What can you tell us about them?
Betsy: It’s a pretty random connection. Homemade granola? Chinese orphans with disabilities? Sometimes those random links are just how God gets us thinking outside of ourselves. I started New Day Granola with a selfish enterprise in mind, but while I planned on how this little baking process could allow me to quit teaching, God made it very clear that the proceeds from this venture should go somewhere else than my already very blessed family.
Being provoked by sermons, prayer moments, and a week at Family Camp at Mission Meadows, where Marla was speaking about creative ways to respond to God’s calling to love the poor, I decided to find a cause where this small baking idea could make a difference. My friend from church, Anneli Johnson, has sacrificially dedicated her life to serve at a foster home in Beijing, China. I Googled the name of it, and to my delight, God spoke directly to me by making a match blatant and clear. The name of the foster home where Anneli works is New Day Foster Care. No kidding!
New Day (the China one) believes, “Every child deserves a healthy start and to know the love of a family, and …makes these dreams a reality for hundreds of children.” New Day Foster Home seeks to care for orphans with special needs and makes it possible for them to have life-saving surgeries and a loving home. Just this week, New Day was given a new four-day old baby boy, and celebrated the successful heart surgery of one special little girl named Charlotte.
My New Day Granola, was destined to help back a ministry, entitled with the same vision for better days; but, with a hope and heart that goes way beyond a 12 oz. bag of yummy breakfast cereal. I have no idea how my granola will make a difference; but simply put, God does, and I will keep baking. My efforts might seem small; but somehow, the whole process of creating, stocking, mixing, baking, packaging, promoting, selling, and shipping brings a new day to a new people in my life.
Me: Rave about your granola for a minute.
Betsy: There’s just something therapeutic about eating something with fresh ingredients, no preservatives, and made by someone who cares what their customers are putting in their bodies. I’m literally baking this for you in a kitchen that belongs to a home that is lived in by people. I go to the Amish grocery and select my ingredients from a lady who wears a bonnet. I try to use local products whenever I can (honey, maple syrup) and I am making my best effort to blend this granola with healthy, satisfying, yummy stuff that you will want to eat.
Store-bought granola can be filled with artificial ingredients and preservatives, and if you didn’t know, I might burst your parfait bubble, but it’s not very healthy for you and isn’t helping you lose weight. I use coconut oil and whole nuts and natural sweeteners and colorful dried fruit and it makes me feel good that you can recognize and pronounce every ingredient on the bag. So yes, it’s homemade. And yes, it’s delicious.
Me: What advice to you have for other mamas of young kiddos who want to pursue their dreams?
Betsy: As little girls, we played store, set up bake sales, tromped door to door to sell cookies, collected money for field trip candy bars, and exercised our entrepreneurial spirits regularly, whenever we could. Because- we like to sell stuff. We like the satisfaction of the process and even though, we might toss and turn at night and obsess about our ideas, I’m encouraging us to follow through. You’ll never have enough time or have enough money or have the perfect situation, so just do something NOW. You may start small, but you are pursuing a worthwhile goal that allows you to use the gifts and passions you have to contribute to God’s big plan. Put yourself and your ideas out there. Be open to random connections and have faith that God wants us to spend our time and our efforts on stuff that will help others.
Today Betsy is giving away THREE BAGS of her DELICIOUS NEW DAY GRANOLA!! (1 bag each of Chocolate Peanut Butter Almond, Maple Apple Pecan, and Cranberry Honey Walnut)